Students, faculty requested to aid in UC committee task

By Peter Schuh

A University Council committee wants student and faculty assistance in its task of reviewing the way in which NIU students grade their professors.

The ad hoc committee to review evaluation of instruction by students was approved by the UC last year following a continued debate and concern waged over the purpose and necessity of the evaluations.

The evaluations give students the chance to rate the quality of their professors’ performance at the end of each semester.

Clarence Casella, associate professor of geology, said the committee held its first meeting last month and would appreciate student and faculty members’ opinions on the issue.

“What I, as the chairman, am trying to do is let faculty and students know there is an avenue to the UC,” Casella said.

He said the committee recently began its review process. He said he does not know how long the review process will take.

“We’re starting to see if it (the current system) is a viable policy and if there are ways to improve it,” he said. “We have no deadline, but I do want to finish well before the end of the semester so if there’s any changes recommended by the committee they can be implemented.”

Casella said the committee would review and consider any opinions which students or faculty might have. Written suggestions can be sent to Room 406 of Davis Hall in care of Clarence Casella.

“Anonymous letters will not be taken under serious consideration,” he said.

Casella said the committee consists of seven faculty members, representing the majority of NIU’s colleges, and one student to be appointed by Student Association President Paul Middleton.

Concerns regarding the present evaluation policy are based on the intended purpose of the current policy and the question of who has the right to view evaluations.

Currently, faculty evaluations are not permitted to leave the department office, making it impossible for students and college administrators to view them.

In the past, arguments have been raised both to publicize the evaluations and to restrict their viewing only to the faculty members they concern.